Working two jobs to support her infant daughter is harder than anything Penny Richards has ever done, but it sure beats living under the rules of her stepfather, a television preacher who demands a picture-perfect family. And if Penny hadn’t struck out on her own, she never would have met Travis Calhoun. The intensely physical heavyweight brawler has a way of drawing out her wild side. But Travis lives fast, with no responsibilities—and that just isn’t for Penny. Most of the women in Travis’s circle wear tight clothes, high heels, and tons of makeup—not pearls or plaid headbands. But once he works past Penny’s inhibitions, Travis discovers a kindred spirit who longs to trust someone with her body, and her secrets. Still, Travis can’t help but wonder if this rich girl is just slumming it before she returns to her privileged life. Now it’s up to Penny to prove that she wants her hard-edged, hard-loving fighter just the way he is.
Source: Author and Pre-Order Purchase
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
Sweet southern drawl, charm oozing out of his ears, and a body that makes most women fall all over themselves. Travis Calhoun is the total package and though he knows it, he doesn’t flaunt it nor does he use it to his advantage . . . much. For the past year, since quite literally the moment he first ran into her Travis has been trying his damnedest to use his southern drawl, charm, and hot body to his advantage with Penny Richards. For a solid year nothing has worked and Travis is beginning to think his business is on the fritz.
For the past year Penny Richards has worked like a dog to just keep her head above water. She works two jobs, lives in a tiny apartment in a not-so-good part of town, can barely pay her rent and bills every month, and she has a one-year-old daughter no one in town knows about. Yeah, you read that correctly. Penny has a kid no one knows about and if she has her way, it’s going to stay that way. Isn’t there something out there about the best laid plans of mice and men??? Oh, that’s right, those plans go awry J
When Penny’s plans go awry, they go to a whole new level of awry. By whole new level I mean the media is involved, her family (and I’m using that word loosely) shows up, and her baby daddy crawls out of the woodwork. Within days of Penny’s secret being revealed, she is in desperate need of help and though Travis has made his feelings about kids clear, he can’t leave Penny and her daughter defenseless. Travis is drawn to Penny and wants her both safe and happy so if that means taking in her daughter as well, so be it. He’ll learn to adjust. Oh, and adjust he does. Having Penny in his home is such a strange and wonderful experience which causes Travis to find as many reasons as is humanly possible to keep Penny and her daughter with him. Within mere days, Travis is so completely attached to both he can’t see his life without them in it and he will go to whatever lengths necessary to ensure their safety and happiness.
Without hesitation or reservation, Travis dives into the fray and meets Penny’s problems head on. Those problems include two seriously pathetic humans in the form of her radically religious and totally hypocritical stepfather and the man who fathered her daughter. Threats are thrown about like confetti, Penny is scared to the point of immobility at the thought of losing her daughter, and Travis is mad as hell at both the men involved and the situation. His actions surprise even him but Penny and her daughter are well worth any and all unpleasantness. To keep them by his side is his ultimate goal and when the moment comes when he thinks he may lose them both forever, Travis nearly loses his mind with worry, fear, and true grief.
The Bottom Line: So. Worth. The. Wait. Stacked Up is such fine and fitting end to the Worth the Fight series. Travis has been a fixture throughout the series and has always been the comic relief, the good time guy, the one who lets all the bad roll right off. Stacked Up gives the reader a whole new view of Travis and the man he truly is beneath all the laughter. Turns out, Travis is one of the most decent men in all of Tarpon Springs and his actions prove that at every turn. His dedication to Penny and her daughter isn’t out of some misguided sense of charity or pity but a deep-seated need to protect and love those he allows in. Penny Richards isn’t just shy and unassuming and in need of a white knight, she is also kind, smart, sexy, courageous, and fiercely protective of her daughter. Her personality is a perfect balance to Travis and his over-the-top, bigger-than-life personality. In fact, there really isn’t anyone better for Penny and Travis than Penny and Travis. What these two go through in such a short amount of time is completely crazy and totally unexpected. Seriously, Penny takes getting into trouble to new and unique heights 🙂 I love that Halston hasn’t let up all with the drama, the fighting, the naughty bits (Penny’s a dirty bird :)), and the inclusion of favorite characters from previous reads. Though I am so sad this series has come to an end I am glad that it is going out on such a high note. Well played, Sidney Halston, well played!
About the author and where to find her:
Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”–Mark Twain. Or even simpler, “Just Do It”—Nike. And that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red.That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing.
Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second. When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.